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ABF E-Buzz: August 2014
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ABF E-Buzz — August 2014

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

by Tim Tucker, ABF President and ABF E-Buzz Editor 

August, with its clouds of scented blooms,

August, with its great stacks of giant clouds,

August, with corn plants standing like rows of soldiers,

August, with watermelons, full and heavy, dozing in the sun,


Mary Naylor

Welcome back! It's been a very tame August here in Kansas. We've had several days that broke record lows for the day and the nights have been cool enough to turn on the attic fan and cool the house for the whole day. We've saved a few dollars on the electric bill and it's been very nice.  We do have a forecast for warm weather for the next week, but highs are predicted for the mid-90’s. I had an opportunity last weekend to talk with the beekeepers in Omaha and spent the morning there in the extension office which is a beautiful facility. The day was well spent and it was great to see so many new beekeepers interested in learning.    

My last three hours of travel offered a view of one corn or soybean field after another. The corn looked to be nine feet tall and the ears were 18 inches long and fat as piglets. I am always impressed by the state of American agriculture today. With so much ground here in the Midwest and so many millions of acres of grain crops, there should be no one hungry in this country. Our technology has developed dramatically in many ways and we have pushed the boundaries on what we are able to do with different crops. It seemed like every twenty miles there were test plots with a dozen or more marked varieties of corn that were all picture perfect, all the same height within their variety. It's hard to imagine that any of these new varieties were in any way better than what is growing right now. It's just hard to imagine where all of this corn goes and just how we can process it all. I did see many soybean fields that were covered with pigweed that is now resistant to roundup which is why it will now be necessary to use 2-4-D modified seed to allow for a new treatment or perhaps a combo treatment. Then in ten or fifteen years that will no longer suffice and we will have superweeds that will require more herbicide. 

I read the other day that the world’s population will double in the next 36 years and the challenges with feeding that amount of people are not small. I wonder what new technologies will be utilized and whether they will be more sustainable in nature. There are days when I wish I had a   crystal ball to see things in the future. Will we meet our challenges and provide for a good life for 12 billion people or more? Will things fall apart causing starvation and calamity?   Whatever the outcome, it's going to be difficult for our bees. 

  I was glad to see an old friend at the meeting who had moved from Kansas to Omaha a few years back to be around his kids. When commenting about how he was getting along in his new locations he said “Gosh it's hard to keep bees alive up here.” He   recalled earlier days from years in Kansas where he didn't lose any bees during the winter and didn't have to buy packages every year. I said that yes, things have changed and changed dramatically.  The speaker before me was the apiary inspector from   Iowa. His report included the winter loss for Iowa last winter which reported a 62% winter loss. That's just amazing! It's really hard to rebuild from those kinds of losses and it's likely that many didn't. He reported on the Bee Informed Partnership report of     losses around 23% and noted that those were winter losses as well and that doesn't give the whole picture since beekeepers are losing bees during the spring, summer and fall as well. We have been seeing lots of colonies this summer that we just find     queen less and we know from earlier inspections a few weeks prior that the colony was fine. Some of these hives have drone laying workers, but many don't and that's something that we just didn't see years ago. We keep asking ourselves what are we    doing, or not doing that is causing young, newly installed queens that start out doing well but are just gone with the bees not replacing them? The  longer I do this the more questions I seem to have.    

 On another note, I'm seeing a lot more hive beetles this year than at any time in the past. I don't know if it's the new genetics we are using in our queens or the weather. It may be that with the cooler and more humid conditions have benefited them and  they are just taking advantage. While we are still not seeing any slimed units we do see many running beetles when we pull lids and inner covers. It usually takes a couple of minutes to run these guys down and squash them and there's always a few that  get away. Just something that takes a little more time when doing inspections.   

 I also heard reports that much of South Dakota and Iowa have received twice their normal rainfall for the year and some beekeepers have extracted and put supers back on. Reports are that they are getting ready to do a second pull and extract again.  One person said that the only thing that is going to stop the flow is frost so it's nice to hear that beekeepers that do have good bees are doing well. It would be great to hear of a year where we could have a good increase in honey production. 

 Once again there's much to glean here this month.  Peter has a great article on “Small hive beetle and the aggregation pheromone” that will help make them rush into traps. That's good news and just in time. We have a great article for Anna about the  Honey Queen and Princess and from Sarah, the Bee Girl, about Kids and Bees. 

I hope you enjoy your time spent here and find it informative. If you have anything you would like to see in the upcoming August ABF E-Buzz, drop a note to tuckerb@hit.net.  

BEE Our Guest: 

Register Now for the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow!

The 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow takes place at the “magical” Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California, January 6-10, 2015. Join hundreds of beekeepers large and small and a vibrant community that is dedicated to ensuring the future of the honey bee for education, networking and the sharing of ideas and solutions. As an attendee you’ll benefit from:

• Two days of general sessions featuring presentations from industry experts
• Informative Shared Interest Group meetings and track sessions for each level of beekeeping
• 20+ interactive hands-on workshops
• Keynote presentations from Graham White of Scotland, UK and Mark Winston from Simon Fraser University's Centre for Dialogue
• The 2015 Honey Show
• A global vendor tradeshow: discover the latest products and services in the beekeeping industry The coronation of the 2015 American Honey Queen and Princess
• Lots of socializing opportunities
• And much, much more . . .

Celebrate the start of 2015 in Anaheim, in the heart of sunny Southern California! Average temperatures range from the high 40’s to the low 70’s, making it much warmer than most other places in January. So, take a break from the cold and join 600-800 other beekeepers to share knowledge, experiences, tips and a little fun in a beautiful setting. We can’t wait to see you there!

More About the Disneyland Hotel
The Disneyland Hotel, a AAA Four-Diamond property, hosts the conference; attendees may take advantage of a special group rate of $109.00 (plus applicable taxes). This rate is available until December 15, 2014 or until the group block is sold out (whichever comes first). We encourage you to make your reservations early to ensure availability. Additionally, the group rate will be honored three days before and after the conference dates. So, make a little vacation out of it and bring the whole family.

Just steps away are Downtown Disney and its restaurants, retail shops and activities. Adjacent to Downtown Disney, you’ll find the Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. So in just one location, you’ll have the amazing 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, the AAA Four-Diamond Disneyland Hotel, Downtown Disney and two theme parks not to mention all the other features Anaheim has to offer. Make your plans now to attend and we’ll see you in January.

Register Today!

National Bee Day:  Celebration at the North Central Florida Beekeepers Association

The participating clubs of the North Central Florida Beekeepers Association held their annual fundraising/educational event at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion in Ocala, Florida August 16th. This year’s special guest was the 2014 American Honey Princess Elena Hoffman from Pennsylvania who promoted the event on WCJB-TV 20. She delighted the crowd with her great sense of humor and knowledge of honey bees.

Ocala, Florida Mayor Kent Guinn opened the day’s event by reading a proclamation proclaiming August 16, 2014 National Honey Bee Day in Ocala, Florida.    

Public education is in the forefront for this association as they strive to involve the entire community in their efforts to save honey bees and other pollinators from the devastating losses that have occurred recently with colony collapse disorder (CCD). There are so many different causes for the honey bee loss that learning about them and seeking cures is a part of our public education endeavors. We are trying to cover all aspects of what can be done to turn the tide and save more or these incredible little workers that helped feed us and make the world a better place to live.

We would like the public to see honey bees as the beneficial insects they are and change the attitudes of many that see any flying, buzzing, stinging insect as a threat that should be swatted or killed as a nuisance. Honey bees are not a threat but they are the ones being threatened with extinction if we don’t change the perspective so many people have.

Without the pollinators, our world would lose a lot of the color we enjoy all around us. Just think of a world without all the flowers that beautify our world and enrich our lives. Think of your dinner table without all the tasty and beautifully delicious fruits, berries, nuts, and vegetables that taste so wonderful and help us stay healthy and fit.

Bees are unappreciated by most of the public as they never stop to think of where their food really comes from. Many visit their local super markets to buy food and never give any thought of how empty the shelves would be without our pollinators.

Yes, the super markets store foods for us to purchase but they don’t produce any of it. The bees pollinate the blossoms which was necessary to produce the foods they sell in the markets and that we all need to survive.

Folks visiting this event were treated to a sweet line up of speakers covering many aspects of beekeeping from how to start beekeeping to what rules have to be followed to be successful and legal in beekeeping.

Attendees learned of the products of the hive, how the bees work in the hive to make those products, and they even had the opportunity to see a queen being marked and placed back into her hive filled with thousands of bees happily working away while everyone watched in awe.

 Among the excellent speakers this year was Laurence Cutts, one of the most respected beekeepers in the state of Florida. Laurence spoke on his efforts to help all beekeepers by working tirelessly to raise funds to help build a new research laboratory at t  the University of Florida through his foundation.

 Under the direction of Dr. Jamie Ellis, the current University of Florida lab is leading the way in honey bee research and his staff spends incredible amounts of time visiting the local bee keeping clubs as part of their extension work.

 At local meetings Dr. Ellis brings the beekeepers up to speed with his latest research projects and ongoing work on behalf of all beekeepers in the world. He helps everyone understand how important research is as well as how his students are  doing  great things in the lab and after graduation continuing research in their places of employment.

 We all benefit from the extraordinary work being done in his lab, however so much more could be done with a new modern and well equipped facility. This would enhance the work being done now and help with future research.

 To that end the NCFBA made a donation to the Cutts Foundation by raising funds with raffles, food sales, collecting donations and our popular auction with Laurence as the auctioneer. The highest bidding came when he placed a “Gator” themed  bee hive  on the auction block. Of course we are in the middle of Gator Nation and the Florida Gators at the University of Florida.

 For more information on the North Central Florida Beekeepers Association,  please visit our website.  www.floridabees.org 

Science Buzz

By Peter Teal, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS

August is the blues for us in North Florida because there’s no forage out there, and Jerry Latner, our area bee supply guy, is selling sugar by the ton. Interestingly, at my other duty station in Miami, we have no shortage of food for the bees; everything is in bloom in Maine where I was on vacation last week. I suppose it’s either feast or famine and goldenrod will start blooming in North Florida soon. One of the things that occurs when forage is hard to come by is that bees get stressed, and with stress, we commonly see an increase in Small Hive Beetles (SHB). Now would be a good time to put traps in hives. There are many different types and I have no preference as to which is best. But a recent discovery by Dr. Charles Stuhl (Chemistry Research Unit, CMAVE-USDA-ARS) has shown promise to dramatically increase the efficiency of in-hive    traps for SHB.

 For years we have struggled to find any evidence of an aggregation pheromone (chemicals that cause beetles to  mass together) for this pest. We knew the beetles always clumped together, but we never had the staff to critically  pick apart the beetle biology and  come up with a biological test that would prove there was a pheromone. This is  why for many years I stated at ABF meetings that we had no evidence for a pheromone. Well, Charlie Stuhl took  this on when he joined our “Bee Team” last fall. He dissected the  behavior and developed really fantastic biological tests that enabled him to discover the pheromone. I turns out that the aggregation pheromone is produced by males and that both sexes are attracted. The pheromone seems to act over short distances. Although  it’s attractive on its own we have found that when coupled with volatiles we have identified as attractants from ripe fruit the blend is super.

 The neat part is that it attracts newly emerged beetles before they get into hives as well as beetles that are in hives. So there is now a lure that can be used in bee yards, when combined with the right trap, and combined with in-hive traps to catch the ones who have made it into the hives already. We know that in-hive traps work so we decided to do an experiment to see if our lure added to the efficacy of commonly used traps. We did the trapping studies using newly emerged adult beetles and gave them a choice between an in-hive trap baited with the “magic” blend and a trap just containing oil (the method recommended by the manufacturer).

The picture to the right shows beetles at an in-hive trap containing the attractant (I left out the picture or the control trap that did not contain the attractant, trap because there were no beetles on it). The attractant acts rapidly and within minutes of putting the lure out, there are beetles at the trap. We have tested the lure in the field and it attracts beetles, but we need a trap that is more effective in capturing SHB. Like every pest insect there is no “magic bullet” trap that works for all pest beetles. I am so excited about this discovery that I had to let you know about it now. We are still tweaking the system for in hive traps and working on traps for bee yards but by the ABF meeting in January we will be ready to give you something great!


Bee Updated: Latest and Greatest News from the National Honey Board 

The summer is beginning to wind down and you may find yourself looking for some after-school snack ideas for when the kids return home. We know that after a grueling day of hitting the books (and recess, of course!), it’s nice for the kids to come home to easy-to- prepare ideas that  will hold them over until dinner.

 From Ham & Cheese Lettuce Roll-ups to Honey, Nut Butter and Banana Sandwiches, the National Honey Board has  an entire section dedicated to recipe ideas that have been kid tested, and passed with flying colors! Plus, honey is a  back-to-basic ingredient  that parents can feel good about feeding their kids. 

 Here’s to another successful school year! 

 Honey Queen Buzz: Busy Bees: The Queen and Princess Take on Fair Season

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Susannah in TV interview on KATU

 It’s officially fair season! August and September are by far the American Honey Queen Program’s busiest months of the year. 2014 is no exception!

Fair travel took Susannah and Elena to Washington, New Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota and Alaska! Fairs offer the beekeeping industry a unique opportunity to engage the public in a variety of ways. The queens kept busy through traditional honey queen promotional mechanisms including radio, television and newspaper interviews; while on site, they also maintained direct contact and interaction at fair booths and observation hives, and during cooking demonstrations. 



Princess Elena holding a frame of bees.

There were a number of other activities that allowed them to interact with a variety of different audiences. At the Clark County Fair in Vancouver, Wash., Susannah had the opportunity to present about the beekeeping industry before the evening grandstand entertainment. Elena demonstrated a bee beard at the Ohio State Fair and gave open hive demonstrations at the New Jersey State Fair.  

Every fair offers its own unique opportunities. Talk to your local fair organizers to see if there are opportunities for the queen outside of your booth. The more the Honey Queen or Princess is visible throughout your fairgrounds, the more buzz and interest she creates for your booth!

Susannah and Elena continue with fair and educational promotions through mid-October, along with joining many of our members at regional and state beekeeping conferences. They both look forward to connecting with you at your events and meetings.

We are close to finalizing the fall promotional schedules and will soon begin preparations for the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Anaheim, Calif. on January 6-10, 2015. I look forward to hearing from you soon about your request for Susannah and Elena to visit your state!  Please contact me at 414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com to discuss the options!  Happy promoting!

Kids N' Bees: An Event for Bigger "Kids"

by Sara Red-Laird, Bee Girl

In a recent ABF webinar, beekeeper Blake Shook referenced a statistic from a Bee Culture survey that showed beekeepers under forty years old make up a mere eight percent of our industry! That’s not great news, as the future is upon us and the time is now to ensure the survival of our livelihood and passion. This is, however, an exciting time to be a beekeeper. Society, government, science, and the food industry have their eyes turned to us and are poised to offer support perhaps more generously than any time in modern history. So what do we do? Where are we going? Who are the emerging leaders, and what is their stance on the current issues affecting our daily lives? How do we recruit more beekeepers to adopt the trade so our parents and grandparents can retire to the nearest fishing stream (or other such pipe dream)?

Let’s come together and make a night of it! Meet me in Missoula, Montana, for the 2014 Western Apicultural Conference in September. The conference will be held at the University of Montana, named the most beautiful campus in the US by Rolling Stone magazine. This year’s conference will play host to some of the true rock stars of beekeeping from around the world. Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk has generated topics, speakers, and events that are high quality, and high energy. There will be two specific events for the Next Gen Beekeepers Summit. After a farm to fork dinner on campus Thursday night, join hosts Sarah Red-Laird and Zac Browning at the Stensrud Building for desert, dancing, and discussion. Live music will start to jam at 8pm as we hand out Big Dipper’s Lavender Honey ice cream and Bayern Brewing’s Summer Bock (made with Montana honey).

After some time to kick up your heels and debrief your day, Zac and Sarah will open the discussion by identifying some of the current issues beekeepers face, and looking at the opportunities that abound in research, education, non-traditional products from the hive, etc. This will be a quick breakout session “snowball”, to identify a few issues and give you fodder for discussion that will be continued, in depth, on Saturday. Before too long, we’ll get back to the music, enjoy great company and toast to the bees!

The second session of the Summit will be Saturday morning, 9:00 am-noon, on the UM campus. Zac and Sarah will review the topics and previous issues brought up, and then invite you to break into smaller discussion groups to identify themes and  rank importance. We’ll come back    together for a group discussion on prevalent subjects and goals for next steps and solutions. This is the first step to  a positive and coherent future, and we want YOUR voice!

 Beekeepers and bee workers from all walks of life are invited and encouraged to attend. Commercial, small scale, back yard; we all have something to add and gain from each other!

 Admission to The Next Generation Beekeepers Summit is included with your WAS conference registration. Visit (http://ucanr.edu/sites/was2/Conference_Information/) to register if you haven’t done so already. Please RSVP to sarah@beegirl.org if  you plan to  attend the Thursday night Summit (we want to make sure there is plenty of ice cream and beer to go around!).

Next Generation Beekeepers Summit, Late Night Break Out Session

Thursday, September 18th, 8:00 pm – late.
Stensrud Building, 314 N 1 ST W, Missoula

Next Generation Beekeepers Summit, Workshop
Saturday, September 20th, 9:00 am – noon.
University of Montana Campus

Bee Thinking

Last Month's Riddle was A farmer was going to town with a fox, a goose and a sack of corn. When he came to a stream, he had to cross in a tiny boat, and could only take across one thing at a time. However, if he left the fox alone with the goose, the fox would eat the goose, and if he left the goose alone with the corn, the goose would eat the corn. How does he get them all safely over the stream? Chappie McChesney got the correct answer: He takes the goose across and returns. Then he takes the fox across and brings the goose back. Then he takes the corn across and leave the goose behind. Then he comes back by himself to get the goose.

Here is another riddle for you to ponder over.

There's not doubt, That I can fly,
And when I do,I'll tear your eye.

You'll ne'er see me,Taste or smell,
But when I'm near,You'll not be well.

None can help me,Be the best,
To go with the wind,And fulfill my quest

Think you know the answer? The first to e-mail Tim Tucker at tuckerb@hit.net will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.  

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • Vermont Law School announced Friday that its campus is going neonicotinoid pesticide-free, making it the first higher-education campus in the country to earn official recognition from the BEE Protective Campaign, led by Beyond Pesticides and Center for Food Safety. Learn More 
  • The deadly disease American foulbrood threatens honeybees—and therefore human food supplies—across the globe. But new hope may come from a set of natural products recently discovered by chemists in Germany: Read More
  • Scientists attached radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to hundreds of individual honey bees and tracked them for several weeks. The effort yielded two discoveries: Some foraging bees are much busier than others; and if those busy bees disappear, others will take their place. Learn More  
  • Bee colonies are dying off in alarming numbers in rural Minnesota and across the country, sparking worries about global food production and environmental health.. Read More 

ABF Welcomes New Members — July 2014

·        Kay Aucoin, Louisiana

·        Raymond DeVries, Michigan

·        Nathan Gunter, North Dakota

·        Derek Gunter, North Dakota

·        Wes Luther, North Carolina

·        Jennifer McComb, Missouri

·        Larry McNabb, Indiana

·        Michelle Piediscalzo, Louisiana

·        Gilbert Rwaganje, 

·        Darlene Taylor, California

·        Chris Zukowski, Illinois 

Recipe of the Month: Summer Corn Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Source: Flavia's Flavors


  • 4 ears of corn, kernels cut off of the cob
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, small dice
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • Handful of fresh basil, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


1. Combine the corn kernels, diced red bell pepper, diced jalapeno pepper, sliced scallions and sliced basil in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt and pepper and whisk briskly to combine.  

3. Pour half of the dressing over the vegetables and toss gently to incorporate.

4. Taste and add more dressing if desired.

5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

6. Serve at room temperature for the best flavor. 

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